The European Molecular Biology Laboratory: Excellence by choice

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1 The European Molecular Biology Laboratory: Excellence by choice Prof. Iain W. Mattaj EMBL Director General Life Science Conference University of Oslo 16 February 2016

2 EMBL: promoting excellence for over 40 years EMBL was founded in 1974, as European Intergovernmental Research Organisation, following the CERN model, to create a centre of excellence for molecular biology research in Europe Former Directors General John Kendrew Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1962 Lennart Philipson Fotis C. Kafatos Many award winning scientists Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard & Eric F. Wieschaus Nobel Prize in Medicine 1995

3 EMBL member states Member States (21) Austria 1974 Denmark 1974 France 1974 Germany 1974 Israel 1974 Italy 1974 Netherlands 1974 Sweden 1974 Switzerland 1974 United Kingdom 1974 Finland 1984 Greece 1984 Norway 1985 Spain 1986 Belgium 1990 Portugal 1998 Ireland 2003 Iceland 2005 Croatia 2006 Luxembourg 2007 Czech Republic 2014 Associate Member States Australia 2008 Argentina 2014 Prospect Member States Slovakia 2014 Hungary 2014 Poland 2014 Lithuania 2015

4 EMBL s missions Services Technology Development & Transfer Basic Research Advanced Training Integration of life science research

5 Organisational principles: The EMBL model Hire the best focus on young scientists complete scientific independence Stringent quality control Scientific Advisory Committee Adaptability & flexibility continuous turnover international (> 80 nationalities) Financial, intellectual and technical support mentoring creativity & scientific freedom open & collaborative culture non-bureaucratic & efficient processes/systems focus on research, few other tasks (e.g. teaching)

6 Motors for scientific excellence at EMBL Interdisciplinary expertise & collaboration Physics Chemistry Computational Biol Modelling Medicine Cutting-edge infrastructure & innovative technology development

7 8 Interdisciplinary collaboration at EMBL

8 Scientific publications in collaboration % of EMBL s publications were published jointly with more than 800 institutions worldwide

9 Scientific excellence at EMBL 650 publications/year on average 40% of EMBL s publications in the top 5% of journals in biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology 4 EMBL publications in the top 100 highest cited papers ever Overall quality of its publications places EMBL in the top 10 research institutions worldwide ~30% of EMBL s research group leaders hold ERC awards

10 Promoting excellence for the future Bridging scales & resolutions The BIG data challenge Towards human biology & molecular medicine

11 World-leading infrastructures and services promote scientific excellence generate scientific breakthroughs attract talent & provide optimal working conditions for researchers training of young scientists development of new technologies and innovation

12 EMBL infrastructure and services Structural Biology ~ 2,500 user visits per year many users of complementary services Bioinformatics at EMBL-EBI > 11,000,000 web visits per day Core Facilities > 1,200 internal and external users per year

13 The EMBL model for research infrastructures and services Close interaction with the scientific community research collaborations user feedback Stringent review Scientific Advisory Committee Rapidly adapting to changing landscape scientific needs new technologies

14 Excellence through innovation: Technology development & transfer EMBL develops a broad spectrum of technology and instrumentation for life science research Cross-fertilisation between research activities and technology development Imaging technology Software development Synchrotron instrumentation Economic impact

15 Technology transfer The scientific community and society at large benefit from EMBL s technology development and research discoveries SPIM microscopy Licensing Idea EMBL Discovery or Invention Protection Start-up company EMBL Technology Fund >170 patents granted ~ 2800 license & collaboration agreements 17 spin-outs

16 Promoting excellence at EMBL: Internal training EMBL International PhD Programme Joint PhD degree with 25 universities in 17 countries ~ 240 students from over 40 countries Postdoctoral programmes Classical postdoctoral scheme EMBL Interdisciplinary Postdocs (EIPODs) EMBL Sanger Postdocs (ESPODs) EMBL-EBI BRC* Postdocs (EBPOD) (*BRC: NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre)

17 Promoting excellence beyond EMBL: External training 2014 Courses and conference programme across all five EMBL sites 22 conferences and 43 courses > 6000 participants from > 80 countries 147 CPP fellowships and/or travel grants Off-site training (mainly by EMBL-EBI staff) ~ 150 training events Online bioinformatics training at EMBL-EBI 90 online courses with > 130k unique users Visitors Programme > 500 visitors/year

18 Exporting the EMBL model: EMBL Partnerships Close cooperative affiliation with national institutions in EMBL member states Establish network of international centres of scientific excellence and advanced training modelled on EMBL Exploit complementarity or synergy Transfer know-how

19 EMBL Partnership in Marine Molecular Biology with the Sars Centre Promoting scientific exchange and collaboration in basic research on marine organisms and the study of animal evolution Focus on study of animal evolution and establishment/use of marine model organisms Established in 2003 Renewal of partnership agreement for ten years in 2015

20 The Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine Fostering translational research and promoting exchange of expertise in basic and clinical research 2007 partnership initiated between University of Oslo, Umeå University, University of Helsinki and EMBL 2013 renewal of partnership agreement for 10 years and opening of Danish node at Aarhus University Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience >25 research group leaders have been recruited to the Nordic EMBL Partnership Nodes using the EMBL model since 2007

21 Thank you!

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